As interactive television becomes a reality, cable companies and marketers will be able to monitor the viewing habits of millions of Americans, often without clear disclosure, according to a report by the Center for Digital Democracy, a new Washington-based advocacy group. Industry officials said they will use information about customers only to provide better service, but the CDD said the information could lead to manipulation or deceptive advertising.
MSNBC has been caught doctoring copy originating from the Wall Street Journal to make it more favourable to the news channel's co-owner Microsoft. The changes introduced by MSNBC also had the effect of removing references to Microsoft competitors.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal is developing a campaign to bring more retailers to Milwaukee. PR Week reports that as a result of declining ad revenue, the daily newspaper has created a business development director position to promote the city and to convince new retailers and potential advertisers to move there. Initially the paper will work with local public and private economic development and real estate organizations to determine what resources it can provide them such as demographic and purchasing-power data.
The New York Daily News is trying to win back grocers with three advertorial sections. The Daily News lost up to $100,000 in weekly ad revenue because of its "Dirty Shame" investigation of supermarkets. All but one of the city's major supermarket chains stopped running ads after a series said many stores had failed state inspections. The series, based on state inspection reports, began on May 3. Ken Frydman, News spokesman, said the paper hopes the supplements, which were produced for the ad department by a freelance writer, will "bring supermarkets back into the newspaper."
The controversial Channel One Network, which broadcasts programming directly into 400,000 secondary school classrooms, is partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Partnership for a Drug Free America, National Association of Secondary Principals, and the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign to form the "Coalition to Empower Teens" campaign. Channel One pledged to donate ten percent of its advertising time to public service announcements that "address the issues of underage drinking, prevention of school violence, illegal substance abuse, and mental health awareness."
"Think like a reporter, ask the right questions and get the facts right," was White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer's advice to PRSA's National Capital Chapter at its 33rd Annual Thoth Awards dinner on June 7. A robust press keeps this nation strong, which is why it deserves respect from PR people, he told the more than 150 people at the Mayflower Hotel. He urged PR pros to be as helpful as possible to requests from the media.
The Bulldog Reporter, a publication that specializes in compiling dossiers on journalists for corporate PR use, has given its "gold award" in "crisis communications" to Michael Fineman of Fineman Associates Public Relations for his work on behalf of the Pacifica radio network. Fineman was hired to help contain the image problems that arose when the Pacifica's management used armed guards to forcibly expel veteran broadcasters, arrested demonstrators, and shut down station KPFA in Berkeley, CA.
Emerging evidence suggests that media coverage of medicine is increasingly promotional in nature. Recent Australian examples include misleading newspaper articles on an experimental cancer vaccine and a high profile television current affairs segment on a new influenza drug, which failed to disclose the industry ties of a key expert featured in the report.
By understanding the interaction between news coverage and advertising on consumer perceptions, large companies hope to develop more effective and less costly communications plans. This report takes some first steps toward understanding that relationship. This paper is based upon research conducted in the late 1990's by AT&T's Public Relations research department.
The Pacifica radio network has been known for decades as the home of "listener-sponsored free speech radio." That has changed, however, following the network's "Christmas coup" in December 2000, when workers at Pacifica's New York City station, WBAI, were fired and banned from the station. Since then, the situation has gone from bad to worse, with the station imposing a "dirty laundry rule" that threatens employees and volunteers with disciplinary action if they discuss the Pacifica crisis on-air.